Nestle partners with U.S. company in biotech deal

by Eric Schroeder
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LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND — The Nestle Institute of Health Sciences S.A. has partnered with Madison, Wis.-based biotechnology firm Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a move Nestle said is geared toward building its capabilities in research on health and disease by integrating novel adult-derived stem cells products. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“This agreement provides access to CDI’s cell products to support the Institute’s research programs aimed at developing targeted solutions for maintaining health and preventing disease,” Nestle said. “NIHS will employ CDI’s cell products to develop cellular models based on adult-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that govern the progression to chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.”

CDI makes human cells in industrial quantities to precise specifications for research customers. The company was founded in 2004 by James Thomson, a pioneer in human pluripotent stem cell research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to Madison, CDI has a second facility in Novato, Calif.

The NIHS was established in January 2011 and officially opened in late 2012 to be part of Nestle’s global R.&D. network. The NIHS conducts research in relevant areas of biomedical science to translate that knowledge into nutritional strategies to improve health and longevity. At the time, Nestle said it would invest hundreds of millions of Swiss francs during the next decade to build the NIHS.

As part of that pledge, Nestle acquired Pamlab L.L.C. in February 2013. Based in Covington, La., Pamlab manufactures medical nutrition foods for a variety of medical conditions, including diabetes, depression, high-risk pregnancy and cognitive impairment.

In addition to Pamlab, other acquisitions and partnerships include Prometheus Laboratories, a U.S. company specializing in diagnostics and licensed specialty pharmaceuticals in gastrointestinal and oncology; Vitaflo, a provider of clinical nutritional solutions for infants, children and adults with genetic disorders that affect how the body processes food; and a minority investment in the U.S. company Accera, which specializes in medical foods intended for the clinical dietary management of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
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